One by one, the local universities are moving to online classes. My husband works for one of them, and he will still be at work, there just won’t be many students. I am watching my conference speaking schedule dwindle, and businesses, churches, and schools all over the country have difficult decisions to make.
Please keep these decision-makers and leaders in your prayers.
I believe it is time for Christians to take action. I beg you to stop arguing about whether or not covid 19 little more than a media frenzy. Instead, look around you at the people who have already been impacted – even in ways beyond illness. Please stop posting that covid 19 is not as fatal as other illnesses and instead say a prayer of thanks that it is not. Move away from the abstract crowd of social media and, instead, look toward your neighbor.
If you find yourself stressed over the events surrounding this illness, take time to pray, thank God for your blessings, ask for His protection, and ask what He would have you do. When we focus on others, we find our purpose and anxiety diminishes. Anxiety has no ground to stand on when we are thinking of others, and when we see evidence of how God uses each of us to care for each other.
The Church is in a unique position to serve during an event such as this. We have a distinctive kind of fellowship, which means we gather together to worship a shared God and to care for each other. We have a structure in place that allows us to serve with little cost or preparation. We are at least somewhat aware of people’s needs for their work and family situations. We can begin to predict who could benefit from a phone call, someone to run errands, or meals brought in.
Here are some situations to consider:
Check on caregivers. This situation includes two people who are likely more susceptible to the effects of this illness. A phone call a few times a week would provide a brief respite for the caregiver, and an offer to run errands will give the assurance that someone who cares knows their needs.
Check on your elderly who live alone. They may have questions about what is safe. They may put off getting groceries or going to doctor appointments in order to avoid contamination.
Check on the types of employment people have. Those who work low wage jobs are at risk of losing work. They often do not have sick leave and will not be able to work from home. When people live from paycheck to paycheck, even a week off of work can be devastating. Churches can support the local food pantry as these organizations will be taxed beyond capacity.
Check on single-parent families. They may have no options for childcare when schools close. Perhaps some of these families can be matched with others who can provide care.
Check on people who work in the healthcare industry. They will likely bear the burden of extra work. We are used to doing meals for people who are ill, but those who work long hours to make up for shortages may need this kind of help, too.
Take a look at the neighborhood of your church. How can your membership reach out and care for those who live near? Encourage each member to check their block for people who might need help.
Each of these actions is an opportunity to share the Gospel, with or without words. We are being asked to isolate ourselves to reduce the spread of the virus, but we need not isolate ourselves from caring for others. Our God is an all-powerful, all-loving God. He has this situation in hand. Focus on Him and the work He sets before us.
We do God’s work because of the faith He has placed in our hearts. May the grace of a God-given faith bless you in ways you cannot imagine.
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24
by Kim Marxhausen
Weary Joy: The Caregiver's Journey
by Kim Marxhausen
available at Concordia Publishing Houseand Amazon